Anytime you throw a party, most people show up on time or 10 minutes fashionably late. But there are always a few who show up early – the sisters and best friends who show up early to finish the cleaning or the chopping or to answer the door. They’re the ones who know where you keep the extra serving spoons and toilet paper, and who run to the store for napkins 5 minutes before the party starts because you ran out and forgot to buy more. The ones who linger to clean up and chat after everyone else leaves. These are the people who make throwing parties fun instead of just stressful. The ones who make a group of friends a family.
This Sunday, I found myself at CF’s venue a few hours early, watching the body of Christ waking up, stretching, opening the curtains, making the coffee and getting ready to throw a party. One by one, people trickled in to the building a few hours before service, rolled up their sleeves and went to work. Tidying, practicing music, laying out kids’ craft materials, mixing sound, adjusting lights, laying out communion elements, making pancakes, and stationing themselves by the door – a self-appointed welcoming committee – to greet churchgoers with a warm hug and a gesture toward the coffee. These are the people who make our Sunday morning gatherings a party instead of a stressful obligation. The ones who make a group of Jesus people into a family.
It’s easy to attend church, just like it’s easy to attend parties. But if you never do more than attend, you’ll find yourself missing the most important parts. The connection of coming together with the other parts of the body of Christ to roll up our sleeves and serve one another. It may seem a small thing, volunteering to clean the building or teach kids. And perhaps in the grand scheme of things, it is a small thing – like showing up early to your best friend’s party. Small things build great things, like friendships and ministries and churches who impact communities.
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